CES –1: Press Day

We were just outside of Barstow, on the edge of the desert…

There is a freeing moment, after you’ve shaken off the last of LA’s urban tendrils, and all that’s left is a savage high speed burn through the desert. It’s a freedom that stays with you. It stays with you till you at last come over the rise, and there before you, where no city has any right to be, is the impossibly large buildings and freshly minted sprawl that is Las Vegas. Old Ben said it best: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Gotta love it.

Press day is the day before CES actually opens, and it give us journalists a chance to gossip, whine, and kvetch while shuffling from press conference to press conference. For the most part these are like listening to the most boring teacher you had in high school, when you know they’re going to give you the test and all the answers (in the form of a press kit) at the end of class. At least this year the big press conferences had a lot of good info to present. So this list is just a quickie, as I see the products in person as the days go on, I’ll post more info. Whatever I miss, check the news section, as Darryl is going to be doing some show coverage too.

Toshiba’s big news was an actual date for HD-DVD: March. They even had prices, a model for $499 (HD-A1) and one for $799 (HD-XA1). The consensus among us journalists using the information given was that the major difference between the two players was $300. Thomson also announced a $499 player, for release at the end of the year. Interesting thing about Toshiba’s two HD-DVD players, no mention at all of 1080p. In fact, it specifically said 720p and 1080i. Interesting.

Not surprisingly, Pioneer announced a 50-inch 1080p plasma for $10,000. Don’t worry, I’m positive that will street for a lot less. They also announced a Blu-ray player for, get this, $1,800. I’ve never understood Pioneer’s pricing strategy. What are the trying to do, give us palpitations?

XV-Z20000, a 1080p DLP front projector. Drool. They also have a bunch of interesting LCD stuff that I’ll talk more about when I see it.

Ever wanted a 103-inch plasma? Me either, but Panasonic made a few, was showing them, and claimed that they’ll make and sell more. My question is why? The picture above is this behemoth, the “small” plasmas above it are 65-inchers. Wrap your head around that. Speaking of 65-inch, they announced a 1080p version for later this year. No word on the 50-inch 1080p I saw at CEATEC in October.

A huge Sony booth, an hour long press conference, and even a dedicated “PlayStation 3” section, and they didn’t mention the next-gen console AT ALL. Thanks. Sony is saying they’ll have Blu-ray players by the summer. They kinda laughed at Pioneer’s pricing, just saying that theirs will be cheaper. Yeah, try $399 in the form of PS3 (allegedly). I did find out later that all of Sony Pictures releases will be 1080p native on the disc, which is pretty cool. Also, I talked them into sending me another SXRD RPTV, this time a definite production model, to finally put this whole color accuracy thing to rest. That, and they’re sending me their SXRD 1080p front projector. With any luck that review will be in the April issue.

Check back tomorrow, I’ll hopefully have more info. I’d love to be able to take requests to “see this” and “check out that,” but I don’t even have time to see all the stuff I want to see. Sorry.

Jhefter's picture

Thanks for your diligent, plain-spoken reporting, Geoff. Would you please report on whether ANY manufacturers are offering 1080p inputs (including DVI) on their new models? I'm ready to buy and I'd like to maximize the lifespan and forward-compatibility of my $3000 investment!Looking for the Holy Grail... (is it grail-shaped?)

Fred Manteghian's picture

Geoff, Pioneer told me their BluRay player was $18,000. I hope you were right, not me. Either way, I'm a waitin' for the PS3.

John's picture


Richard J Lasiuk's picture

What are the dementions (w/h/d size) of HL-S6187W ??

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Anonymous's picture

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